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Ridge to city: Save our busses

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If Ridgites could find a seat on the B37, X27, and X28 buses, they wouldn’t be taking the MTA’s pending service cuts sitting down.

Yellow Hookers are furious about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s plans to completely eliminate the B37 bus, which runs up Third Avenue through Sunset Park and Gowanus before reaching Downtown. The agency also plans to scratch weekend service on the express X27 and X28 buses, which shuttle commuters from Shore Road and Cropsey Avenue to the Manhattan.

The MTA says the lines are “low ridership services … that largely duplicate subway service.” But bus riders say that the R train, which runs under Fourth Avenue one block away from the B37, isn’t a viable alternative — especially for the disabled.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said an 84-year-old 65th Street resident who rides the B37 several times a week to do her shopping. “I don’t ride the subway — I can’t climb the stairs. I hope they don’t get rid of the B37. We need it.”

Carol Barone, a teacher’s assistant and asthma sufferer who rides the B37 from 74th Street in Bay Ridge to Downtown every morning, said that cutting bus service would make commuting impossible.

“I have asthma and I can’t ride the train because of stairs,” said Barone. “There are disabled people that need this bus. If they’re going to charge us $3, why can’t they give us what we need?”

The reason, the MTA has said, is that the agency needs to close a $1.2-billion budget hole. But straphangers aren’t the only ones railing against the rail agency — local politicians are also coming along for the ride.

“No one I talked to could believe the MTA wants to get rid of their bus,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who has organized online petitions to save the B37, as well as weekend service on the X27 and X28 busses.

“We’re going to keep the MTA under pressure to keep the B37.”

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) is also onboard in the fight to maintain bus service, drafting a petition calling for the MTA to continue running the B37, and urging the agency not to cut weekend service on the B4 (which runs along Bay Ridge Parkway to Sheepshead Bay) and the B16 (which runs along 86th Street and up to Prospect Lefferts Gardens), overnight service on the B64 (which runs along 86th Street to Coney Island), and early morning service on the B16 and B70 (which runs from Fort Hamilton to Sunset Park).

The MTA says it will make its final decision later this month. Until then, petitioning is the best thing that concerned commuters can do, according Gene Russianoff, spokesman of the Straphanger’s Campaign.

“There is a constituency for the bus service and petitioning helps,” said Russianoff. “The squeaking wheel gets oiled.”

— with Zeke Faux

Gentile will lead a protest on Dec. 8 at the corner of 92nd Street and Third Avenue at 11 am. Call (718) 748-5200 for info.

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